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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Nov 25;94(24):13245-50.

Use of model plant hosts to identify Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence factors.

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Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.


We used plants as an in vivo pathogenesis model for the identification of virulence factors of the human opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Nine of nine TnphoA mutant derivatives of P. aeruginosa strain UCBPP-PA14 that were identified in a plant leaf assay for less pathogenic mutants also exhibited significantly reduced pathogenicity in a burned mouse pathogenicity model, suggesting that P. aeruginosa utilizes common strategies to infect both hosts. Seven of these nine mutants contain TnphoA insertions in previously unknown genes. These results demonstrate that an alternative nonvertebrate host of a human bacterial pathogen can be used in an in vivo high throughput screen to identify novel bacterial virulence factors involved in mammalian pathogenesis.

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